Neha Patil (Editor)

Special Operations Command (Philippines)

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Country  Philippines
Type  Special Operations
Branch  Philippine Army
Active  January 16, 1978 - Present
Role  Airborne operations, Direct Action, Reconnaissance, Unconventional Warfare, Target Interdiction,
Size  3 Regiments, 1 Training Group (Provisional).

The Special Operations Command (SOCOM) of the Philippine Army is the command that is responsible for planning, conducting, and supporting special operations for the Philippine Army. Currently, units under SOCOM are the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne), Scout Ranger Regiment and the Light Reaction Regiment.


Unit mission

The mission of SOCOM is to plan, conduct and support special operations in all operational environments in support of the Philippine Army's mission.

Unit core capabilities

SOCOM forces are employed based on the following core capabilities:

  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Direct Action
  • Special Reconnaissance
  • Counter-terrorist Operations
  • Target Interdiction
  • Special Light Infantry Operations
  • Unit history

    The ASWABde

    SOCOM, PA traces its roots to the Army Special Warfare Brigade (ASWABde) that was organized in 1978. The ASWABde was a first attempt to rein in the specialties of the Special Forces and the Scout Rangers, two army units that have among the most highly trained personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and structure their collective efforts into a highly effective army unit.

    Following the destabilization attempts of the late 1980s, ASWABde was deactivated and the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) was placed directly under the control of Headquarters Philippine Army while the First Scout Ranger Regiment was unfilled.

    Re-organization during the 1990's

    Finding a new need to bring together the efforts of the two regiments, the reorganization of a command to control these elite units was brought up. Additionally, the re-organization and reassignment of Operational Controls in various units of the AFP also affected the decision to re-establish a "Special Operations Command".

    On 25 July 1995, SOCOM was created at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. The First Scout Ranger Regiment was stationed at Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan while the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) was transferred to its traditional home at Fort Magsaysay.


    During its establishment as SOCOM in the mid-1990s it had three sub-commands, namely: the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) that was tasked to plan for and conduct Unconventional Warfare Operations; the First Scout Ranger Regiment that was tasked to conduct special reconnaissance and direct action operations against high-value targets; and, the Psy-Ops Group that was tasked to plan for and conduct psychological operations in designated areas.

    The Psy-Ops Group was later detached from SOCOM and was assigned to the Civil Military Operations Group, PA (CMOG, PA).

    Currently, SOCOM is composed of three combat units with distinct capabilities that perform various missions in the conduct of special operations, namely:

    The Special Forces Regiment (Airborne)

    The mission of this regiment is to organize, train, equip and provide rapidly deployable forces and conduct unconventional warfare in all types of operational environment in support of SOCOM's mission.

    The Special Forces specializes on the following: unconventional warfare, direct action; special reconnaissance; psychological warfare and mass base operations.

    The First Scout Ranger Regiment

    The mission of this regiment is to organize, train, equip and provide rapidly deployable forces and conduct special operations in support of SOCOM's mission.

    The regiment's core capabilities are: direct action, jungle warfare, special reconnaissance, and sniping operations.

    The Light Reaction Regiment

    The mission of this regiment is to conduct counter-terrorist operations in support of SOCOM's mission.

    LRR operators are skillfully trained on the following core capabilities: surgical close quarter battles and vertical insertion, hostage rescue and personnel recovery, elimination or capture of notorious terrorists, and target interdiction.


    The Special Operations Command conducts three primary qualification courses to provide its personnel with the foundation of knowledge and skills on special operations.

    The Special Forces Operations Course is conducted to provide every Special Forces trooper the foundation on unconventional warfare and highly specialized combat skills.

    The Scout Ranger Course is heavy on direct action and jungle warfare operations that provides the ranger trooper knowledge and skills attuned to conducting jungle warfare operations.

    The Counter-Terrorist Course is conducted to provide SOCOM counter-terrorist troopers the necessary special combat skills utilizing modern small-arms weapon systems.

    All of the three courses mentioned will undergo actual combat test mission in priority conflict areas in the Philippines prior to the completion of the course. This serves as the Command’s performance evaluation of students prior to the confirmation of their qualification as a Special Forces paratrooper, Scout Ranger fighter or Counter-Terrorist operator.

    Other types of specialized training conducted by the command are as follows:

  • Basic Airborne Course
  • Jumpmaster Course
  • Parachute Packing, Maintenance and Air Delivery Course
  • Military Freefall Course
  • Combat Diver’s Course
  • Scout Ranger Target Interdiction Course
  • Close Quarter Combat Training
  • Lineage of commanders

  • Colonel David Abundo Jr. PA (INF) (GSC)
  • Colonel Robert Dilan PA (INF) (GSC)
  • SOCOM:
  • Brigadier General Victor Mayo AFP
  • Brigadier General Voltaire Gazmin AFP
  • Brigadier General Julius Javier AFP
  • Brigadier General Delfin Lorenzana AFP
  • Brigadier General Dionisio Santiago AFP
  • Brigadier General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. AFP
  • Brigadier General Benito Ramos AFP
  • Brigadier General Victor Ibrado AFP
  • Brigadier General Arturo Ortiz AFP
  • Brigadier General Roberto Morales AFP
  • Major General Romulo Bambao AFP
  • Brigadier General Jet Joel Velarmino AFP
  • Major General John Bonafos AFP
  • Brigadier General Donato San Juan AFP
  • Unit seal and symbolism

    The unit seal of the Special Operations Command is a shield with a tierced bend to the dexter side. The colors are brown, yellow gold and black that is tiered one on top of the other in that order. A white arrow occupies the center of the shield with its tip towards the shield head. A black border occupies the perimenter of the shield.

    The symbolism of the colors are as follows:

  • Black has always represented the Scout Ranger and is exemplified in their battlecry: Life for the Rangers, Death to the enemy.
  • Yellow gold has always been representative of the Special Forces. With their skill in Unconventional Warfare Operations, the SF has always excelled in the accomplishment of their tasks.
  • Brown used to signify the Psy-Ops Group during the early days of SOCOM. It now symbolizes the lofty ideals representative of the Special Operations Command.
  • References

    Special Operations Command (Philippines) Wikipedia